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Phallosopher - (I)

by Andrew Harvey at 15 June 2021, 10:48 PM

PHALLOSOPHER is a black metal group from Tampere, Pirkanmaa (Finland) and the group is fronted by JESSE HEIKKINEN who is known in Finland especially with another band called DEPTH BEYOND ONE’S. Together with the contribution of a drummer known by the name of RISEN but their actual name is unknown. PHALLOSOPHER amalgamates “elements of of jazz, ambient and avant-garde with black and death metal which in turns gives us a collective auditory hallucination formed by transcosmic solar-phallic forces of Death, Magick and Rock ‘N’ Roll”. This is the band’s debut album released through Inverse Records.

The silence at the beginning of this album is broken by the gradual crescendo of an amplified sound effect (which is most likely computer generated)in “Death Is The Crown Of All”. The creepy howling of what sounds like a sampled sound of a wind based instrument with warped vocals leading into the next track. “I-Phallo-O-Sopher” is a 3 minute track which combines the elements of post-punk rock guitar but with that thrash influence accompanied by the accents from drums + bass heavy instrument. An emphasis or pin point accuracy on high range guitar hooks at times compliments the vocals.

“Bring Me The Head Of Your Prophet” is a much longer track full of raging guitar hooks, the split between clean and distorted is worthy of full appraisal. This in conjunction with dynamic and contrast with a more stripped down guitar sound with plenty of bass. The drums mark the various transitions with pulsating guitar riffs and ambient, avant-garde approach to this album. “What Have You Buried In Here” takes that clean or stripped down guitar sound from before with actually nothing more than that. The creative side is the organic effects we hear in the background before a sudden burst of noise coming from a source we could refer to as a sound generator in the mix.

No doubt the next track “Malkuthian Cunt” is also a short sequence of pounding drums with consistent guitar riffs and black metal vocals. “Black Light Of Creation” with it’s screaming vocals, guitar pitch shifts and progressiveness focused on drums + bass guitar. Following on is “Death Is The King And The King Has Returned” starts with elements of synthetic gestures, doom vocals and overdrive guitar that cuts through the mix. However one element of this track that I didn’t notice straight away is the flow or rhythm is most likely in a time signature of triplets.

The consistency and power of all instruments is well balanced but the guitar and vocals take precedence. The drums guide the track along through transitions we heard before, these can be heard in the second half. “Night Of The Pan” another short sort of pause or intermission with clean guitar we heard before, the echo is certainly evident like hearing the echo in a long hallway. We also hear more synthetic gestures aiming at a more haunting and supernatural sense. “Whore And The Beast” is ultimately the final track which compiles the best parts of what we heard before. The contrast between clean and overdrive guitar for starters, not forgetting the creepy cries of sampled sounds in the background.

The guitar is the key to the narrative of this last track along with drums setting the tempo at first. Then a sudden implosion of energy and character from guitar brings together the noise of all instruments. Even the solos guitar pull off is staggering. This comes to a gradual descent in volume for guitar, bass and drums before a revolving synthetic gesture that comes from an organic sound. The album certainly has a lot to say about this band, no doubt the experimental side of what PHALLOSOPHER can do, but I feel at times the album can get a little too synthetic maybe. Perhaps if we heard more of the traditional instruments at the fore than sampled sounds but I think there is enough to say that this album is very intriguing.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Death Is The Crown Of All
2. I-Phallo-O-Sopher
3. Bring Me The Head Of Your Prophet
4. What Have You Buried In Here
5. Malkuthian Cunt
6. Black Light of Creation
7. Death Is The King And The King Has Returned
8. Night Of Pan
9. Whore Of The Beast
Jesse Heikkinen - Vocals, Guitar and Bass
Risen - Drums
Record Label: Inverse Records


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Edited 08 February 2023

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